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French Grammar Lesson 7

Forming a Plural in French

In order to form a plural of a French noun, you often just add an “s.”

Wait, wait! Before you say “Well, that was easy – it’s just like English,” let’s look at the rest of the explanation.

If you have, for example, a book – “le livre” – then the plural is “les livres.” Did you see that we also put an “s” on the word “le” when we made the change from singular to plural? If there’s an adjective modifying “book,” it gets an “s” as well – “le livre vert” (the green book) becomes “les livres verts” (the green books). Notice that unlike English, the adjective often goes after the noun, and adjectives denoting color always do – we’ll discuss that in another lesson!

French resembles English in at least one other way, though; some of its nouns form their plurals in a unique way. For some reason, the plural of “le cheval” (the horse) is “les chevaux” (the horses). Similarly, the plural of “le feu” (the fire) is “les feux” (the fires). If you wanted to say “the hot fires,” it would become “les feux chauds.” Notice the “s” – not a z! – at the end of both “le” and “chaud.”

How do you learn which words form plurals with “s” and which ones form their plurals in another way? Simple. You read and listen to a lot of French. While forming a plural in French is definitely not as easy as it is in English, with practice you’ll get it!

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